Terry Green, former president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers Union, joined his BCGEU brothers and sisters on the picket line Saturday at the Penticton Cascades Casino. Mark Brett/Western News

Casino and striking workers still at odds

Both sides claim they are willing to continue to negotiate

Gateway Casinos and a union executive are trading barbs as mediation talks for striking casino workers have come to a halt.

Doug Kinna, executive vice president of the BCGEU, alleges that Gateway Casino managers are “poking” striking workers. He claims managers have made statements to those walking the picket lines including that they hope the workers have ‘good winter boots because they will be out there until Christmas’ and that they are happy the workers are on strike because it gives them time to go play golf.

“We want this to end as quickly as possible but we don’t want to accept a low ball deal that is below what other casino workers receive for the same work. How long this lasts is really up to the employer,” said Kinna.

Related: Show of union solidarity on casino picket line

“This is dollars per hour the other casinos are receiving, not cents. We don’t get hung up on cents.”

While Gateway Casinos said the union is out of touch with the marketplace and are “disappointed” after a few days of mediation on the weekend that ended with a full day and half remaining with the mediator when the union walked out. Kinna said the package proposed was significantly below the industry standard and is “insulting.” He added there was some movement on vacation and health benefits but the major issue of wage wasn’t dealt with. Kinna said until that happens there is “nothing more to talk about with the employers.”

Related: B.C. Wine Info Centre feeling the impact of striking casino workers

“We had hoped that mediation this weekend would be more productive, unfortunately these past few days of mediation have resulted in more disappointment,” said Tanya Gabara, director of public relations for Gateway Casinos, in an open letter.

Proposed wage increases of more than 40 per cent, as well as increases in benefits and pensions, have the unionized casino workers and Gateway at a deadlock. In the letter from Gateway, it alleges that proposed wage rates of more than $20 for positions such as cashiers, guest services and restaurant hosts are “simply not reasonable rate increases for any business.”

Negotiations broke off in May and mediated talks have not resulted in any agreements on key monetary issues. Gateway said if the union was serious about bargaining and bringing an end to the strike they would have brought a reasonable package for this size of the community and casino operations in those communities.

“Really, the only thing that has changed is that days and weeks continue to go by while our employees remain on strike. We hear from our employees that they want to return to work and deliver great customer service and provide a great entertainment experience for our customers. The union seems more interested in continuously walking away from eh bargaining table before any real negotiations have occurred.”

Both sides claim they are willing to continue to negotiate should a reasonable proposal be brought forward. At this time, there are no further dates booked for mediation.


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Great horned owls returned to the wild in the South Okanagan

Great horned owls plucked by crows from their nest last April have been released back into the wild

Youth Wellness Gathering aims to empower, educate South Okanagan youth

The event is hosted by a non-profit located on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) reserve July 22 & 23

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry supply

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Development gives Kelowna community garden the boot

Glen Valley residents given a few days to break it down before land development

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Kelowna RCMP release video of reckless theft out of Southwest Mission

“Their tactics were anything but subtle,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read